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Poland in NATO? A Case Study of the United States Foreign Policymaking Process

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Master's thesis

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The opportunity for nations such as Poland to enter NATO is of vital concern for their security. Indeed, the problem of inclusion into the Western alliance is the key issue for the majority of former Warsaw Pact members. After the dissolution of the Soviet bloc, these countries are no longer members of a security alliance. Yet, with the end of the Cold War, Poland confronts significant new security risks - making the need to join an alliance such as NATO all the more important. The United States plays a key role in determining whether Poland will be invited into NATO. What will guide that decision What lessons can he learned about U.S. decisionmaking from the creation of the Partnership for Peace, and what are the implications for possible Polish entrance into NATO This thesis is based on interviews with U.S. policymakers on NATO expansion. The history of that policy, especially the creation of the Partnership for Peace as an alternative to immediate alliance expansion, offers a case study for drawing broader conclusions about the U.S. policymaking process. This thesis outlines that history and argues that bureaucratic politics theories of U.S. policymaking are inadequate to explain the issue of NATO expansion. With the end of the Cold War, and scrambling of previous institutional interests within the U.S. government, those interests provide only limited help in accounting for the policymaking process that led to the Partnership for Peace. The fear of hostile Russian reaction to NATO expansion provides much of the rationale for U.S. opposition to inviting nations such as Poland into the alliance. However, significant disagreements persist over this issue, both within and between key U.S. policymaking organizations.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Defense Systems
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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